Rain. Cold rain. An all-day down-pour. There isn't much to do at Yellowstone in the rain with a baby...but we swindled a few garbage bags from a visitor center, bundled up, and made the best of a wet situation. We watched Old Faithful erupt from inside, warmed our hands in geyser steam, and ate PB & J's in our car. We hopped puddles at the Artist Paint Pots. Towards evening the sky cleared and we mingled with buffalo that marched down the road. I forgot to plug our cooler drain that morning and water leaked onto our bed the entire day. Whoops!-thankful for the laundromat.
More rain. We decided to abandon ship and head south early in search of dryer weather. We slowly made our way out of the park, stoping at geyser basins along the way. Curiously, throughout the trip, travelers from abroad always stopped to take our photos. We found this hilarious. Our impromptu picnics in parking lots always turned into photo shoots. We arrived at Grand Teton National Park and set-up camp in the mist. Juni played with pebbles in the campsite and chased after deer. The smell of pine trees in the mountains was bliss.
We discovered coffee and donuts at the park store- a mini vacation for Luke and I during morning nap time. Since it was still drizzling, we headed to Jackson for a morning in the city. We took Juniper to the children's museum and ate lunch downtown. The sun peaked out hours later and we hiked through fields of sage and wild flowers. Mountain climber Juni crawled through the rocks and brush, tasting stones and forging his own path. We spotted a moose! At times the mountains would disappear behind a dark, foggy curtain. We had pizza for supper, with a side of scenic mountain gorgeousness.
We hiked to Taggart lake and dipped our toes in the cold mountain water. We munched on leftover cold pizza and root beer. We saw a black bear and grizzly bear up close (from our car). As the light turned golden, we made our way back to Yellowstone and east around Yellowstone lake. We cooked up some eggs and ate amongst the flowers. A raven begged for crumbs. We exited the park from the east gate and held our breath while driving the high, winding mountain roads to Cody, WY.
We splashed in the pool at the Cody KOA campground with juni. We picnicked along a river in Bighorn National Forest. The drive east was hilly and scenic and cause for some nail-biting (ever notice how "dinged" the guard rails are?!?). "We" (Luke) found a short-cut to our next destination...all was well until we hit road construction...and then unpaved, gravel roads with treacherous drop-offs and no shoulder...in the dark (it took us 30 minutes to drive 5 miles)...and we finally made it to Custer State Park late at night.
At dawn we drove Needles Highway. The animals were active and we saw hundreds of deer, bison, and prairie dogs (my favorite!). We toured Wind Cave at Wind Cave National Park and were dazzled by its infamous 'box work' formations. We fed the begging burros carrots and celery. Juni loved them and tried to grab their donkey lips. We stopped our car for a large heard of buffalo crossing the road. A gruff looking (and sounding) male made the (too close) on-lookers back away in a hurry.
On the road again. We pit-stopped at a butterfly house in Sioux Falls. A storm chased us through Minnesota. We arrived back home around midnight. Home sweet home.
Where we stayed:
Colter Bay Campground- Tetons
Sylvan Lake Campground- Custer
Where we played:
Grand Teton National Park
The Clubhouse- Jackson, WY
Bighorn Sheep National Forest
Custer State Park
Wind Cave National Park
Sertoma Butterfly House- Sioux Falls, SD
Liberty Burger- Jackson, WY
Leeks Marina and Pizzeria- Tetons